Twitter reports indicated that the captain of the USBoattoGaza had been taken into custody, but a new posting from Ma'an News reports that the captain is back with the passengers.
The captain of the US Boat to Gaza, which left port briefly on Friday, has been charged with disobedience for violating an order barring his vessel from sailing and will attend a court appearance Monday.John Klusmer has not been jailed and is staying with the crew and activists on the boat, the Audacity of Hope, one of 10 ships that were to participate in the flotilla.
His US boat had defied dock orders to remain at port pending the investigation of a complaint that the vessel was not seaworthy, which organizers said was being deliberately delayed.
An Israeli group claimed responsibility for the complaint.
There's a wikileaks aspect to the flotilla, put forth by blogger, Mostly Water."If the Marmara that took part in the previous sail sought to present Israel's brutality to the world (and managed to do so, thanks to our kind assistance,) it appears that the current flotilla was meant to present Israel's stupidity.At this time already, when it's still unclear whether and when the ships shall arrive, it appears that this objective had also been fully achieved."
"Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently said that the flotilla of ships set to sail to break the Israeli naval blockade was unnecessary because "there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza." Similarly, Israel Defense Forces chief Benny Gantz told a group of Israeli reservists that Palestinians in Gaza are "importing televisions and plasma screens, and exporting agricultural products to the entire Arab world."
The message, in so many words, is that life in Gaza is just fine, and that there is no need for flotillas to challenge the Israeli blockade.
But this State Department cable, published by WikiLeaks and written in October 2008 from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, should put the kibosh on Israel's claims about the economic situation in Gaza [emphasis in original - MW]:
"Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions thatthey intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis"
* Update 1:
Adam Shaprio, of the International Flotilla Committee, said today ...
"The ship itself is currently in the naval compound, where it is being detained.
"We [the International Flotilla Committee] however will continue to challenge this [the Greek ban] and we are challenging it this weekend politically."We have people working in the political scene here in Greece to put pressure. We are working on the legal options and we intend to sail still to Gaza."
* Update 2:
According to Channel NewsAsia, the Middle East Diplomatic Quartet -- United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations -- today discouraged flotillas from attempting to sail to Gaza to provide humanitarian aid. In a statement, the Quartet said it ...
"...recognizes that Israel has legitimate security concerns that must continue to be safeguarded.
"Members of the Quartet are committed to working with Israel, Egypt and the international community to prevent the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition into Gaza and believe efforts to maintain security while enabling movement and access for Palestinian people and goods are critical.
"In this context, the Quartet strongly urges all those wishing to deliver goods to the people of Gaza to do so through established channels so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via established land crossings."
Greece, which will receive yet another $12 billion from the IMF and Eurozone by July 15, said its decision to extend the ban on ships bound for Gaza "until further notice" was based on "Israel's declaration to use violence against those who attempt to break the blockade," as well as a United Nations plea for member states on the Mediterranean "to use their influence to discourage" the missions. Greece insisted its action was to "protect the activists."
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